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A typical Village Gardens exterior view. I’ve always liked Village Gardens—I used to live there—and when I was up there the other day, I started liking it all over again. They’ve spruced it up (not that it needed it; it’s always been beautifully maintained) and these days it’s looking better than ever. And as a […]

December 9, 2011


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A typical Village Gardens exterior view.

I’ve always liked Village Gardens—I used to live there—and when I was up there the other day, I started liking it all over again. They’ve spruced it up (not that it needed it; it’s always been beautifully maintained) and these days it’s looking better than ever. And as a home for a budget conscious Sarasotan, there’s no place better.

Vaulted ceilings in a Village Gardens unit.

The units are attached villas, all two bedrooms, two baths, with a lanai that is either screened or glass-enclosed. The floor plans are all around 1,000 square feet, and most have vaulted ceilings in the living room. Some have been all gussied up by previous owners, while others haven’t been touched since 1980. But they all have the pluses that you look for but rarely find at this price, all in the same package—inside washers and dryers, pets allowed, no age restrictions, covered parking for two cars right at your front door.

View from a Village Gardens lanai.

And the landscaping is beautiful. It has the quality of a much more expensive community. The units are arranged so that practically all of them face a greenbelt, with tropical plants and oaks and pine trees galore. I remember opening my door early one morning and seeing a red fox, frozen in place, staring right back at me.

Drawbacks? Those carports don’t give the units a very gracious fa├žade. And the neighborhood, while convenient— just south of the airport—isn’t all that great. On a quiet night you can hear the dogs barking over at the track. But there’s a great community spirit, and a wide variety of residents, including many in the arts.

Best of all is the price. During the boom the units went up to almost $200,000. Now there are four on the market, from $56,000 to $69,000. I’m seriously thinking of buying one myself.